Morrisons posts loss before tax

Morrisons has revealed a loss before tax of £176m in its full results for the year to 2 February 2014, down from a profit of £879m this time last year.

The struggling supermarket, which launched its online offering at the beginning the year, saw turnover down 2% to £17.7bn, and like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) fall 2.8%.

The retailer said was performing ahead of plan, with other operational highlights including the opening of 18 new supermarkets, and the conversion of its own-label programme, with 6.500 own-brand products launched during the year.

Alongside its trading update today (13 March), Morrisons published a strategic update, following a comprehensive review of the business. It will look to invest £300m during the 2014/15 financial year, with an enhanced focus on its core supermarket business. As part of this, it plans to exit from non-core activities such as Fresh Direct and Kiddicare.

Acceleration of new channel development, including online and its convenience store format, is also planned, in a bid to turn the business around.

Sir Ian Gibson, chairman, Morrisons, said: “In trading terms this has been a disappointing year for Morrisons, with consumer confidence and market conditions continuing to be challenging. However, it has been a period of significant strategic progress as we lay the foundations for a stronger future.

Dalton Philips, chief executive, added: “The strategy we are announcing today is a bold and comprehensive response to the fundamental structural changes that are taking place in grocery retail.   
“We are significantly reducing our cost base and will invest £1bn into our proposition over the next three years, to improve our value even further and to defend and strengthen our competitive position. Customers will see this in our stores, as well as in our fast-growing online and convenience offers.”

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